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Easy 30-Minute Mexican Picadillo Recipe

Easy 30-Minute Mexican Picadillo is comfort food of ground beef, potatoes, and vegetables. So easy to prepare yet full of flavor for a nutritious dinner.

Bowl of Mexican Picadillo with rice and avocado. Limes, fork, and napkin off to the side.

If you’re like me and you’re all about filling meals that leave you feeling satisfied, this quick and easy picadillo recipe is for you!

Loaded with flavor from seasonings and vegetables, and packed with protein and potato carbs, you’re getting one of those feel-good comforting dinner recipes that is actually quite healthy.

Let’s dive right in!

What is Mexican Picadillo?:

Picadillo Mexicano is a hearty dish of ground meat and potatoes with additional vegetables like carrot, onion, and peas. Not only is this flavorful meal filling and comforting, but it also comes together very quickly (30 minutes or less for me!). 

Picadillo is often served with rice and tortillas or used in tacos or as the stuffing for empanadas.

An easy one-pan recipe and a budget-friendly meal, picadillo can easily be made in a big batch to serve a big family or to have as leftovers for meals throughout the week. In addition, this versatile dish is easy to customize based on your flavor preferences.

Spain, the Philippines, and many Latin American countries have their own version of picadillo, and the one you see in this post is a classic Mexican approach. Cuban picadillo often includes green olives and sweet raisins and sometimes capers, where Puerto Rican Picadillo includes sofrito, green pepper, and tomato sauce or tomato paste.

The name picadillo comes from the Spanish word picar, which means “to mince.” Appropriate, given the star ingredient is minced meat and the dish contains finely chopped veggies.

While the recipe here calls for beef broth to generate the sauce, some cultures use white wine or beef bouillon for the liquid.

Picadillo in a large pot

Ingredients for Mexican Picadillo:

All you need to make picadillo is ground beef, potatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno (skip for a very mild version), carrots, peas, garlic, tomatoes, beef broth, oregano, and ground cumin. And of course some sea salt and black pepper.

You can replace the fresh tomatoes with one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, or use canned diced tomatoes.

To keep the picadillo mild, make sure you remove the seeds of the jalapeno before adding it (or skip the chili altogether). For a spicy picadillo, leave the seeds in, and consider adding serrano peppers as well or canned diced green chilies.

You can use russet potatoes or yukon gold potatoes. While sweet potatoes are not customarily used in authentic picadillo, I find that using a jewel yam turns out marvelously as well.

I use lean ground beef (90/10 meat to fat ratio) so that the traditional dish doesn’t turn out overly greasy, but if you prefer a higher fat content, feel free to use whatever fat ratio you love. While you can use ground turkey, I recommend sticking with the ground beef to achieve the traditional richness of the dish.

Optional Addition: To increase the heat level and add more flavor, add one chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more if you’re a spice fanatic).

Now that we’ve covered the simple ingredients, let’s make some picadillo Mexicano!

Close up top down photo of picadillo with white rice

How to Make Mexican Picadillo:

Add the avocado oil to a large thick-bottomed pot or large skillet (I use a Dutch oven) and heat to medium-high heat on the stovetop. Sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the chopped potatoes to the pot, stir well, then cover. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes while you’re chopping the other vegetables.

Scoot the onion and potato off to the side and add the ground beef. Brown the beef for 2 minutes before using a spatula to chop it into smaller bites.

Stir in the red bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Add in the chopped tomatoes, green peas, beef broth, sea salt, dried oregano, and ground cumin. Bring the picadillo to a full boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve picadillo with steamed white rice, brown rice or Homemade Spanish Rice, flour tortillas, black beans, avocado, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, or use picadillo for tacos or empanadas (or other pastry).

Serve it up with my Gluten-Free Cheesy Flatbread (similar to papusas, made with masa corn flour) for a real good time! 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

bowl of picadillo and rice with avocado and cilantro

If you love Mexican food, also try out these favorites!

More Mexican Recipes:

Enjoy this fast and simple Mexican favorite!

Bowl of Mexican Picadillo with rice and avocado. Limes, fork, and napkin off to the side.

Mexican Picadillo Recipe

Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Mexican Picadillo includes ground beef and potatoes stewed with veggies and seasonings for amazing healthy comfort food. Serve it with rice, warm flour tortillas, or use it for picadillo tacos!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • ½ white onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cups potato, peeled and chopped*
  • 1 pound ground beef (I use 10% fat)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno (or chili of choice), seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup green peas, optional**
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

    1. Add the avocado oil to a large thick-bottomed pot or large skillet (I use a Dutch oven) and heat to medium-high heat on the stovetop. Sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Onion sautéing in a large pot

    2. Transfer the chopped potatoes to the pot, stir well, then cover. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes while you’re chopping the other vegetables.

    Potatoes and onion cooking in a pot

    3. Scoot the onion and potato off to the side and add the ground beef. Brown the beef for 2 minutes before using a spatula to chop it into smaller bites.

    Ground beef in a pot with potatoes and onion

    4. Stir in the red bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

    Picadillo ingredients cooking in a pot

    5. Add in the chopped tomatoes, green peas, beef broth, sea salt, dried oregano, and ground cumin. Bring the picadillo to a full boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.

    Finished picadillo in a pot

    6. Serve picadillo with steamed white rice, brown rice or Homemade Spanish Rice, flour tortillas, black beans, avocado, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, or use picadillo for tacos or empanadas (or other pastry).

    horizontal photo of picadillo in a bowl with white rice, avocado and cilantro

Notes

*I use a medium-sized white sweet potato but you can also use yukon gold potatoes or russet potatoes.

**You can replace the peas with 1 cup of canned corn or add it in addition to the peas

Nutrition Information
Yield 3 Serving Size 1 Serving (of 3)
Amount Per Serving Calories 482Total Fat 20gCarbohydrates 37gFiber 7gSugar 10gProtein 37g
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collage for picadillo

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